U.S. Muslim Group To Launch Major Educational Initiative

First-of-its-kind library project counters bigotry with educational materials

Posted: 1 Rajab 1423, 8 September 2002

On Monday, September 9, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, will hold a news conference to launch a first-of-its-kind national initiative to educate the American public about Islam and to counter anti-Muslim bigotry.

The year-long campaign, called "Explore Islamic Civilization and Culture," involves the community sponsored distribution of books, videos and audio cassettes about Islam and Muslims to some 16,000 public libraries nationwide. (A pilot program by CAIR's Los Angeles office placed more than 2,500 books and videos in 166 libraries.)

The 18-item library packages contain materials such as the PBS documentary "Islam: Empire of Faith," Prof. Jack Shaheen's "Reel Bad Arabs" and "The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?" by Prof. John Esposito of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. (Both Shaheen and Esposito are scheduled to attend the news conference.)

Other library package materials include a copy of the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, children's books on Ramadan and mosque architecture, as well as a book describing the experiences of African-Muslim slaves brought to America.

"Americans do not have adequate access to accurate information about Islam and Muslims. This lack of objective information leaves ordinary Americans vulnerable to the rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Our library project seeks to challenge bigotry through education," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.